An ex-banker by profession, activist by heart, entrepreneur in soul, and a successful working Indian…Read More →
Arushi Vaish started up Happy Hakka in 2013 with 3 friends who were craving for Chinese food one night in Delhi. They realized that there was no established delivery-centric eatery that served good, standardized pan-Asian food at reasonable prices. This lead to the birth of Happy Hakka. It was born as a Fast Casual restaurant which started with a common mission to deliver freshly made to order, exotic oriental flavored food.
While trying to make a name for herself, Arushi too faced some difficulties. “There was some skepticism from the society around, moving from a stable lucrative professional career into a high risk line of work, especially in a time when you hear of restaurants opening and closing by the dozen “, says Ms. Vaish.
But it was her family that stood by her.
“Fortunately, I had a very smooth transition into starting up. Coming from a business family, my parents were extremely supportive of my venture and were in fact a source of inspiration and guiding force when I would feel down and out.”
Arushi says that society was not very supportive in the beginning, but when Happy Hakka got more established, the society around also became very encouraging. She believes family support is critical in Entrepreneurial journeys, there are number of instances when one needs critical advice, positive reassurance and that encouragement – especially when things do not go as planned. Her family and friends have been a pillar or support, and she discusses all major decisions and setbacks with them, and values their experience and advice.
“I urge all family members to stand by the women in their house, support them in their career, with the right encouragement – you will be pleasantly surprised how they manage both work and personal life beautifully”, reiterates Arushi.
Start-ups are tough work, there are a number of challenges that one faces while starting up. Arushi came from consulting background at Ernst and Young, she had no prior experience in this line of work. “From construction to dealing with government authorities to day to day operations, an entrepreneur has to do it all. When we started expanding, maintaining consistency of flavors across outlets was a challenge we faced,” says the founder. Arushi says that the drive to take the brand forward and appreciation by the customers is extremely encouraging.
We asked Arushi how she stayed energetic throughout the day, and she said, “I start my day at 8:00AM with a power workout. It helps me focus on work better.” Her day is filled with meetings for business development, operations and strategy and Happy Hakka store visits scheduled. She believes that ambitious women have a hectic life with responsibilities other than managing family. “However with efficient time management and having your priorities right, it is not unusual for women to be adept personally as well as professionally. I myself am a very family-oriented person, yet ambitious, I always ensure to manage a balance between work and family,” she adds.
Hard work and the road to success require some sacrifice. Talking about her journey Arushi says that she had to cut down on sleep, frequent lunches and holidays and TV time! But that did not mean compromising quality time with the family. “There are definitely occasions when work takes priority over personal time, however I ensure to take out ample quality time for family, friends and myself.”
One of the biggest challenges in being an entrepreneur is getting together a good team.
“Hiring the right people to make an efficient team is very important, once we have the right people on board, all other avenues including production, operations and marketing can be handled,” says the finance graduate.
Every stage of your life teaches you something. Talking about her journey, Arushi says “I feel I have become more responsible and have learnt to value the people around me more. I have gained immensely as a person through the journey of Happy Hakka; professionally and personally – From dealing with situations and people better, getting work done efficiently, time management, patience, foreseeing future solutions rather than firefighting – it has taught me all.”
There were a number of obstacles in setting up Happy Hakka, and a lot of times when Arushi felt like giving up. But she believes that once the venture settles in, it’s all worth it! “Believe in what you’re doing and commit to it wholeheartedly, things do get easier with time! As for the social taboos, it’s amazing how with the right priorities, time management and hard work – the very people who are skeptical about your work encourage you the most,” she says enthusiastically.
We are privileged to have given a voice to Arushi’s journey that will inspire women who want to carve a niche for themselves.
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